Grief and sorrow teach how to mark the Word. No man understands the Scriptures, unless he be acquainted with the cross.

Martin Luther, The Table Talk of Doctor Martin Luther, 35.

We try to avoid suffering. This can be a good thing. It’s a Christian thing to do–to try to avoid needless suffering, to try to alleviate suffering. We are deeply interested in bringing comfort, healing, and consolation to those who are in grief, sorrow, and pain.

It’s part of the human condition. To quote our beloved Westley, “Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”

Luther says that grief and sorrow actually teach us how to understand the Scriptures. The Bible was written by sufferers to sufferers. It’s about the Suffering Servant, who through His suffering is redeeming the faithful.

We’re tremendously consoled by the idea that Christ is able to sympathize with us in our weakness. I think it works the other way around too: We learn more about Christ–we’re able to sympathize with Him–as we experience some of His sufferings.

Do we really know what Christ’s betrayal means until we’ve been betrayed? Do we understand his poverty without some experience of want? Do we comprehend how he can be a “Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” if we’ve never felt loss? Until you’re unjustly accused, and really suffer the loss of reputation and honor, can you really understand the countless texts that cry out for justice?

I don’t know what you’re going through right now. But I pray that your grief and sorrow will function redemptively, giving you deeper insight into the Book written by sufferers to sufferers about The Sufferer. His grief has purchased our consolation. Our grief is a lens of learning.